Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido

Aikido in its present form, is a relatively young discipline, but with deep historical roots, stretching back to the eight century. The basic philosophy of Aikido is to avoid the attack and to use the power of an opponent against himself.

The founder of aikido, Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), spent many years of his life studying combat with sword and staff as well as unarmed combat techniques. He found that the various systems had many principles in common and combined their essence into a new sort of budo (budo being the common denominator for the Japanese martial arts), which he named Aikido. Only after WW2 did Aikido begin to spread outside a relatively narrow circle.

In Aikido training with Bokken (wooden sword) and Jo (wooden staff) is integrated with unarmed techniques using the same principles. Aikido does not lend itself to competition, as there is no attack - Aikido is purely defensive. Defense against most forms of attack can be taught. The daily training has a built-in system, where it is possible to practice the various techniques without hurting one another.

The original techniques are called aiki-jutsu (jutsu means technique). When developed by Ueshiba, he felt to have achieved something above the level of the originating techniques and changed the Jutsu into Do (path). Aiki-jutsu thus became Aiki-do. In training one strives towards greater personal fulfillment through mental and physical balance. Body and soul are one - When you feel well mentally, you automatically gain greater physical well being, and vice versa. Aikido is practices in order to feel well physically as well as mentally. The body is trained to be supple, strong and, coordinated, while the mental goal is to gain patience, relaxation, focus and to act intuitively. Traits we all need outside the dojo.

As mentioned, there is no competition in Aikido. No two persons are alike and we all come with different backgrounds. However, as you act from your own background, Aikido can be viewed as a competition with yourself. Aikido thus becomes meaningful for both women and men, without regard to age.

Aikido is much like art; like a musician or a chess player you achieve perfection. Each training session is merely another step in the quest for that goal. Aikido is schooling in concentration and endurance. The goal is not to hurt or ridicule an opponent, but merely to show him that he cannot win.

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Aikido books

When I started training aikido, I looked for books on the subject and had a hard time finding any. Therefore I have compiled a list of the books I have later found on the internet and otherwise. Descriptions of each book will be added as I find them. Comments are welcome. The links are to for an easy purchase. The tiny Union Jacks will take you to their UK subsidiary.

Abundant Peace : The Biography of Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of
John Stevens / Paperback / Published 1987
ISBN  0-8777-3350-3

Focuses on the "how" and "why" of the quest of Morihei (the founder of Aikido-Japanes Martial Arts), concentrating on a discussion of the people, events, and ideas that most influenced the master.
Kisshomaru Ueshiba, et al / Paperback / Published 1986
ISBN  0-8704-0629-9

Kisshomaru Ueshiba is the son of Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei, the founder of Aikido, and is the current Aikido Doshu (Master of the Way) and head of the Aikikkai organization. The book is intended to be a help to beginners and explains basic things like breakfalls, stances, basic techniques and even goes as far as showing some unarmed defenses to attacks from jo and ken (stick and sword). It also includes a chapter on the life of O-Sensei and how he came to create Aikido.

Aikido : Techniques & Tactics (Martial Arts Series)
Gary Bennett / Paperback / Published 1997
ISBN  0-8801-1598-X

From the Author: Aikido Techniques & Tactics is a concise look at the seldom addressed issue of adapting Aikido techniques to the close quarter situations encountered in a modern urban setting. The techniques portrayed are based on my own system of Tejitsu Aikido, which deals strictly with situations where footwork and large sweeping movements are impossible.

This book is geared toward the open-minded Aikido practitioner, martial arts students in general, as well as, anyone wishing to learn practical self-defense skills. It has been review by grandmasters from a vast array of systems and styles, who gave it high praise for accuracy, practicality, approach, and presentation. Having only been released in October of 1997, I have already been given a "Writer of the Year" award and a "Reader's Choice" award for 1998 by two separate martial arts halls of fame. It is my sincere wish that you enjoy this book and can come away with some valuable self-defense techniques.

Aikido : The Heavenly
Kenji Shimizu, et al / Hardcover / Published 1994
ISBN  1-8836-9502-3

Kenji Shimizu's "The Heavely Road" utilizes detailed photographs shot at interesting angles to shed light on aikido's most dynamic techniques. The neophyte and the serious practitioner, alike, will continue learning about the many nuances of this most subtle martial art even after reviewing the same techninque, many times. Photographs taken from above are particularly useful. Several practitioners of aikido whom I shared this book with later bought their own copies. I highly recommend "The Heavenly Road." It is one of my two favorite books that deal with the art of aikido.

Aikido : The Way of
John Stevens, Shirata Rinjiro / Paperback / Published 1984
ISBN  0-3947-1426-1

John Stevens proves once again that he is the foremost Western chronicler of this fascinating Japanese martial art called aikido. His historical analysis is admirable, and his access to the records, documents, photographs, relatives and friends of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido, makes this book all the more rich in depth and detail. What makes this book truly worthwhile, however, is the abundance of photographs of Shirata Sensei performing aikido techniques, both with and without weapons. There's much here for anyone already training in aikido to learn from. A must for any collector of aikido material.

Aikido : Traditional Art & Modern
Brian N. Bagot, Paul McGlone / Paperback / Published 1993
ISBN  1-8522-3715-5

Aikido and
Bruce Tegner, Alice McGrath (Designer) / Paperback / Published 1983
ISBN  0-8740-7039-2

Although Bruce Tegner has lots of good things to show people regarding juijutsu and karate, on aikido he has nothing of any real consequence to contribute. He starts the book off by saying that Aikido doesn't really work for self-defense and should be approached solely for art and exercise. Anybody who has seen Steven Seagal in a movie recently knows that aikido can be very effective; what Tegner should say is that it can be awesomely effective, but to get to that level you have to practice for 4 or 5 years.

Aikido and Chinese Martial Arts : -Its Fundamental
Tetsutaka Sugawara / Paperback / Published 1996
ISBN  0-8704-0934-4

The author, , December 29, 1997.
To readers, My name is Tetsutaka Sugawara, the author of this book. We, Xing lujian, Mark B. Jones and me, preparing to next publication of vol. 2 in spring,1998, which includes the weapon training with Jo and Sword. We will introduce little more detail. The introduction is "the ancient furnaces and iron smelting" concerning to make swords in several countries, the Japanese tatara-method, Indian wootz steel and Chinese furnace in Han era, etc. Chapter one; The basic of jo and sword techniques--how to grip the weapon and the principles of attack and block movement. The circular motion with jo and bokken. (You can learn easily and train in your own dojo) Chaper Two; The Basic Chinese weapon techniques-- Chinese sword techniques, explaining with the sword vs sword, bo or naginata. Chapter Three and Four; The Kumijo technique, which include eight katas, the first four katas are hard style, next four katas are soft style. The every technique is sword vs jo. Chapter Five; Jo-ai techniques include the five kata. "Jo-ai" means jo vs jo partner practice. (These techniques are using the traditional Japanese and Chinese martial arts. You can enjoy them and continue its practice as life-long physical education for health.) Thank you very much.

Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere : An Illustrated
Adele Westbrook, Oscar Ratti (Contributor) / Hardcover / Published 1994
ISBN  0-8048-0004-9 from Tulsa, Oklahoma , May 15, 1999
good introductory philosophy, excellent reference work
I used this book often when I was living in Japan and studying Aikido. My sensei emphasized the spiritual / philosophical aspects of Aikido more than other sensei I have studied under; those explanations and concepts can be somewhat esoteric even for native Japanese, so while I was at a linguistic disadvantage compared to the other students, this book gave me a good, broad overview of the mental / spiritual underpinnings of Aikido as a whole, so that I was not completely lost during his discussions. The artwork which is used to illustrate the many basic techniques is not complicated by any means; but it is perfectly suited to its purpose: to as clearly as possible show correct form and technique. I used this book for review purposes before a promotion test, or just to try and figure out what I was doing incorrectly or how I could improve. I wouldn't recommend using this or any other book in lieu of actual real training, but this book is an excellent supplement.

Aikido and the Harmony of
Mitsugi Saotome / Paperback / Published 1993
ISBN  0-8777-3855-6

Saotome Shihan(one that is worthy to be followed) has written a very distintive and uncommon book. There is nothing about technique or fighting ways. The book is concerned with the spiritual side of Aikido and the importance of becoming a better person through its practice. That does not mean that Saotome Shihan is one of those dreamy-eyed, "new-age" people...He talks straight and proposes many ideas full of common sense. The book also is full of his fond memories of Ueshiba Sensei(founder of Aikido)and gives sound advice on how to improve our lives. All in all, a one of a kind book. You must have it in your martial arts library !

Aikido and the New Warrior (Io Series, No 35)
Richard Heckler(Editor) / Paperback / Published 1989
ISBN  0-9381-9051-2

Aikido for
Laura Santoro, et al / Hardcover / Published 1998
ISBN  0-8069-9405-3

Aikido for
Gaku Homma / Paperback / Published 1990
ISBN  1-5564-3078-7

A reader , April 22, 1997
A enjoyable book detailing the purpose of Aikido. I read this book on a train journey from Amsterdam to Brussels and I found it to be a delightful companion. The essence of the book is that Aikido is a Way of life (not just a philosophical way) and that Aikido is more than just a martial art or throwing people about. It is a easy book to read, and I must say that the drawings are the most noticeable and endearing aspect of this authors books. Simply, it is to be enjoyed and read again.

Aikido in
John Stone(Editor), Ron Meyer (Contributor) / Paperback / Published 1995
ISBN  1-8833-1927-7

Aikido in Everyday Life : Giving in to Get Your
Terry Dobson, et al / Paperback / Published 1993
ISBN  1-5564-3151-1 from Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada , August 27, 1997
I picked up a copy of this book at a local yard sale thinking it would be filled with Aikido techniques . I got more than I bargained for and still can't figure out why anyone would even let go of it once they had read it. It has changed my life. Dobson/Miller put the idea of conflict and how to deal with it into its proper perspective. The techniques are not only informative but extremely practical. I began to use the philosphy of blending with attack immediatly. The results are that I am able to difuse angry situations quickly and build meaningful relationships with those around me. The explanations are clear and concise. I have since embarked on Aikikai Aikido Training. Thank you Dobson/Miller for your gift.

Aikido in Training : A Manual of Traditional Aikido Practice and
R. Crane, K. Crane / Hardcover / Published 1993
ISBN  0-9636-4295-2

Aikido Sketch Diary : Dojo 365
Gaku Homma, Yutaka Kikuchi (Translator) / Paperback / Published 1994
ISBN  1-8833-1922-6

The Aikido Student
Greg O'Connor / Paperback / Published 1994
ISBN  1-8833-1904-8

The Art of Peace : Teachings of the Founder of Aikido (Shambhala Pocket Classics)
Morihei Ueshiba, John Stevens (Editor) / Paperback / Published 1992
ISBN  0-8777-3851-3

Bruce Tegner's Complete Book of Self-Defense Judo, Jiu Jitsu, Karate, Savate, Yawara, Aikido, and
Bruce Tegner / Paperback / Published 1975
ISBN  0-8740-7030-9

Budo : Teachings of the Founder of
Morihei Ueshiba, Kisshomaru Ueshiba (Introduction) / Paperback / Published 1996
ISBN  4-7700-2070-8

Children and the Martial Arts : An Aikido Point of
Gaku Homma, et al / Paperback / Published 1993
ISBN  1-5564-3139-2

Complete Aikido : Aikido Kyohan : The Definitive Guide to the Way of Harmony (Tuttle Martial Arts)
Roy Suenaka, Christopher Watson (Contributor) / Paperback / Published 1998
ISBN  0-8048-3140-8

Complete Aikido is a fascinating book on one man's study of aikido and is fascinating to read of a man that knew and studied with the Founder of Aikido. A must-have book encompassing one's study and how it relates to aikido and why he's important in being able to speak of the art as well as excellent photography of various techniques in Aikido. Highly recomended by many.

Gozo Shioda, Geoffrey Hamilton (Translator) / Paperback / Published 1977
ISBN  0-8701-1301-1

The Elements of Aikido (The Elements Of)
Greg O'Connor / Paperback / Published 1999
ISBN  1-8620-4322-1

The Essence of
Bill Sosa, Bryan Robbins / Paperback / Published 1989
ISBN  0-8656-8097-3

The Essence of Aikido : Spiritual Teachings of Morihei
John Stevens(Editor), et al / Hardcover / Published 1994
ISBN  4-7700-1727-8

The Essence of Aikido : Spiritual Teachings of Morihei
Morihei Ueshiba, John Stevens (Compiler) / Paperback / Published 1999
ISBN  4-7700-2357-X

The Hidden Roots of Aikido : Aiki Jujutsu
Shiro Omiya / Hardcover / Published 1999
ISBN  4-7700-2327-8

The Daitoryu is a brutally effective fighting method thought to have been first developed more than a thousand years ago by members of the Japanese imperial family. It was then refined and honed in great secrecy through centuries of hand-to-hand combat by highly trained warriors. It was this tradition that Morihei Ueshiba spent years studying just before he set out on his own to found Aikido - which has in recent years become one of the world's most popular martial arts. The roots of Aikido are in the Daitoryu, and for that reason Aikido practitioners will want to learn all they can about this martial art. The Hidden Roots of Aikido is the first book to appear in English that offers a detailed visual introduction to techniques of the Daitoryu tradition. Heavily illustrated with approximately 800 photographs, it gives a clear, complete picture of the steps involved in about 90 techniques.

The Intuitive Body : Aikido As a Clairsentient
Wendy Palmer / Paperback / Published 1994
ISBN  1-5564-3171-6

Invincible Warrior : An Illustrated Biography of Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of
John Stevens / Hardcover / Published 1997
ISBN  1-5706-2075-X

Invincible Warrior : An Illustrated Biography of Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of
John Stevens / Paperback / Published 1999
ISBN  1-5706-2394-5

The story of the life of Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), whose quest for the true meaning of warriorship led to the creation of Aikido--The Art of Peace. INVINCIBLE WARRIOR illuminates the man and his message. Illustrated with hundreds of photographs of Morihei in action.

Keijutsukai Aikido Japanese Art of Self
Thomas H. Makiyama, Gregory Lee (Photographer) / Paperback / Published 1983
ISBN  0-8975-0092-X

Very good book for the beginning Aikidoka. The book covers basic and advanced techniques.

Keijutsukai Aikido; Japanese Art of Self-Defense With
Thomas Makiyama / Paperback / Published 1999
ISBN  1-5813-3139-8

Ki in Aikido : A Sampler of Ki
C.M. Shifflett(Photographer), Linda Adkisson (Photographer) / Paperback / Published 1998
ISBN  0-9653-4253-0

Ki in Daily
Koichi Tohei / Paperback / Published 1978
ISBN  0-8704-0436-9

Kodo Ancient Ways : Lessons in the Spiritual Life of the Warrior/Martial Artist (Literary Links to the Orient)
Kensho Furuya / Paperback / Published 1996
ISBN  0-8975-0136-5

Paperback / Published 1993
ISBN  0-8656-8158-9

This book is by Nobuyoshi Higashi 7d of the Japan Aikido Assn. It includes the San Kata and Yon Kata (3rd and 4th sets of classical forms) created by Kenji Tomiki, as well as some of Higashi's own self-defense forms. The descriptions are rough, and exclude finer points which would lead to proper execution of the techniques. This book would serve as a loose reference for Tomiki practitioners, and might be of histographic interest to others who study Aikido. One interesting point was relating the jo (stick) techniques to their origin as spear techniques, which makes sense out of the formal, thrusting attack. Tomiki's katas are remarkable in their comprehensiveness and depth of principle, and this is the only reference widely available.

Bruce Klickstein / Paperback / Published 1987
ISBN  0-9381-9085-7

Practical Hapkido
Master Hui Son Choe / Textbook Binding / Published 1999
ISBN  0-9668-2541-1

The Principles of
Mitsugi Saotome, Irene Wellington (Editor) / Paperback / Published 1989
ISBN  0-8777-3409-7

The Secrets of
John Stevens / Paperback / Published 1997
ISBN  1-5706-2235-3

The Secrets of Police Aikido : Controlling Tactics Used by Law Enforcement
Bill Sosa / Paperback / Published 1997
ISBN  0-8065-1932-0

The Shambhala Guide to
John Stevens, Peter Turner (Editor) / Paperback / Published 1996
ISBN  1-5706-2170-5

Solo Forms of Karate, Tai Chi, Aikido and Kung
Bruce and McGrath, Alice Tegner, Alice McGrath / Paperback / Published 1981
ISBN  0-8740-7034-1

The Spirit of
Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Taitetsu Unno (Translator) / Paperback / Published 1988
ISBN  0-8701-1850-1

The Spiritual Foundations of
William Gleason / Paperback / Published 1995
ISBN  0-8928-1508-6

Spiritual Journey of
Huw Dillon / Paperback / Published 1996
ISBN  1-8742-5035-9

Structure of Aikido Kenjutsu & Taijutsu (Structure of Aikido, Vol 1)
Gaku Homma, Emily Busch (Translator) / Paperback / Published 1997
ISBN  1-8833-1955-2

Thorsons Principles of Aikido (Thorsons Principles)
Paul Wildish / Paperback / Published 1999
ISBN  0-7225-3588-0

Tomiki Aikido: Randori & Koryu No
Lee Ah Loi / Paperback / Published 1997
ISBN  1-8742-5020-0

Total Aikido : The Master
Gozo Shioda, et al / Hardcover / Published 1997
ISBN  4-7700-2058-9

Training With the Master : Lessons With Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of
John Stevens, et al / Hardcover / Published 1999
ISBN  1-5706-2322-8

The Way of Aikido : Life Lessons from an American
George Burr Leonard / Hardcover / Published 1999
ISBN  0-5259-4413-3

Women in
Andrea Siegel, Jan Watson (Illustrator) / Paperback / Published 1993
ISBN  1-5564-3161-9

Reviews on this book reign from utter hogwash to moderately useful. In my eyes, there is no difference between women and men in aikido other than in behavior.

Ah . . . to Be a Kid : Three Dozen Aikido Games for Children of All
Michael Friedl / Paperback / Published 1994
ISBN  0-9638-5301-5

Aiki News Encyclopedia of
S. Pranin / Paperback / Published 1989
ISBN  9-9915-8720-9
M Saito / Paperback / Published 1911
ISBN  0-6856-3741-7

Aikido (Randall, Pamela. Martial Arts.)
Pamela Randall / Hardcover / Published 1999
ISBN  0-8239-5234-7

Aikido : An Introduction to Tomiki-Style : Randori-No-Kata &
M. J. Clapton / Paperback / Published 1996
ISBN  0-9017-6423-X

Aikido : Its Heart and
Paperback / Published / Published 1989
ISBN  0-6858-8117-2

Aikido and Chinese Martial Arts : Aikido and Weapons
Tetsutaka Sugawara, et al / Paperback / Published 1998
ISBN  0-8704-0963-8

Aikido and the Dynamic
A. Westbrook, Ratti. O. / Hardcover / Published 1940
ISBN  0-6856-3742-5

Yoshimitsu Yamada / Paperback / Published 1984
ISBN  0-8065-0914-7

Aikido Exercises for Teaching and
C.M. Shifflett, et al / Paperback / Published 1999
ISBN  1-5564-3314-X

Aikido in Three Easy Lessons (The Aiki-Dialogues)
Richard Moon / Mass Market Paperback / Published 1996
ISBN  0-9663-4240-2

A Beginner's Guide to
Larry Reynosa, Joseph Billingiere / Paperback / Published 1989
ISBN  0-9625-2690-8

Garry E. Howard ( from Brazil, Indiana , July 25, 1998
I found this book to be a must for all beginning aikidoka. I found A Beginner's Guide to Aikido to be most informative. It covers everything that a beginning aikido student needs to know. It is easy reading and has excellent information for future reference. I particularly enjoyed the comments by Aikido Masters Steven Seagal, Mitsunari Kanai and Mitsugi Saotome respectively. This text is recommended for my students study.

Body of
Richard Strozzi Heckler / Paperback / Published 1988
ISBN  0-8777-3294-9

A Book of Twelve Winds; An Aikido Master's Life
Karl E. Geis / Paperback / Published 1999
ISBN  1-8742-5085-5

Budo : Teachings of the Founder of
Morihei Ueshiba, et al / Hardcover / Published 1991
ISBN  4-7700-1532-1

Budo Training in
Morihei Ueshiba / Paperback / Published 1997
ISBN  0-8704-0982-4

Alan E. Drysdale / Mass Market Paperback / Published 1996
ISBN  0-9668-2440-7

Paperback / Published / Published 1998
ISBN  0-6856-3751-4

It's a Lot Like Dancing : An Aikido
Terry Dobson, et al / Paperback / Published 1994
ISBN  1-8833-1902-1

The Spirit of
Kisshomaru Ueshiba, et al / Hardcover / Published 1984
ISBN  0-8701-1600-2

Traditional Aikido : Sword Stick Body Arts : Basic
M Saito / Paperback / Published 1940
ISBN  0-8704-0944-1

Ultimate Aikido : Secrets of Self-Defense and Inner
Yoshimitsu Yamada, et al / Paperback / Published 1999
ISBN  0-8065-1566-X

Corporate Aikido : Unleash the Potential Within Your Company to Neutralize Competition and Seize
Robert Pino / Hardcover / Published 1998
ISBN  0-0705-0240-4

Leadership Aikido : 6 Business Practices That Can Turn Your Life
John O'Neil / Paperback / Published 1999
ISBN  0-6098-0221-6

Leadership Aikido : 6 Business Practices to Turn Around Your
John R. O'Neil / Hardcover / Published 1997
ISBN  0-5177-0575-3

Aikido videos

Principles of
Principles of Aikido (1994) Shihan Mitsu Saotome, et al. / Published 1995

Bill Henry from Washington, D.C. , June 19, 1999. Excellent Visualization Tool. As a beginning aikido student, I found this video most helpful in examining techniques (slow motion on my VCR) in detail. The video demonstrates approximately twenty aikido techniques (several times each). I recommend it.

A viewer from USA , May 19, 1999. Excellent video! This video was recommended to me by many other people. Clear english narration with good slow-mo's to show the technique. This is not a "seminar" video, but clearly a video shot just for the viewer. This video along with the book "principals of Aikido" are a great study source. Enjoy!

Keijutsukai Aikido; Japanese Art of Self-Defense With
Thomas Makiyama / Paperback / Published 1999
ISBN  1-5813-3139-8
ISBN  0-8704-0268-4

The Art of
Dr.Lee Ah Loi / Published 1991
ISBN  6302998980

Dr.Lee Ah Loi
ISBN  6-3050-5741-9

Comments accepted eagerly

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Updated 01-07-11 at 18:52